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Crisis Group urges world to advise Kiir against forming unity gov’t

Author: Ayuen Panchol | Published: Monday, November 4, 2019

President Salva Kiir speaks at a past function in Juba | Credit | Eye Radio

A peace campaign group has urged the international community to talk President Salva Kiir out of establishing a coalition government.

According to the revitalized peace agreement, the parties shall set up a unity government on 12 November.

However, a conflict agreement over the establishment of the government has cropped up due to unimplemented key provisions in the peace accord.

These include the number and boundaries of the states, which has already caused conflict in some areas, and a new, integrated, unified, well-trained, disciplined, professional army.

The main Opposition Leader Dr. Riek Machar demanded for more time to implement these requirements before an interim government is formed.

However, President Kiir insists on setting up the government, with or without Dr. Machar.

“Allowing Kiir to form a government without Machar would be the worst of these options, since it would shatter the peace accord and, likely, the active military truce,” writes Crisis Group International.

“A better path is for regional leaders to revive diplomatic efforts and seek preliminary consensus on security and boundaries that would put an eventual unity government on a firmer footing.”

It suggested involvement of regional heads of state, including Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta, Minister Abiy Ahmed and Abdalla Hamdok.

“These leaders should invite Kiir and Machar to a heads of state summit for crisis talks,” continues the Brussels-based organization.

It notes that Dr. Machar is desperate to be formally released from restrictions on his movement imposed since late 2016, while Kiir craves renewed external legitimacy.

CGI urged external guarantors to help persuade both President Kiir and Dr. Machar to compromise by offering some limited incentives:

“IGAD could ease Machar’s concerns by allowing his release, conditional on his continued commitment to the ceasefire and his climb-down from maximalist positions on security arrangements. Mediators should warn Kiir, meanwhile, that unless he compromises, his government will remain a pariah and subject to continued external pressure – a message that could carry special resonance at the moment since Juba is courting diplomats to persuade them to back South Sudan’s role hosting peace talks between the new Khartoum government and Sudanese rebel leaders.”

The 2015 agreement partly collapsed in July 2016 after bodyguards of the two leaders clashed at the presidential palace in Juba, a situation observers blamed on poor implementation of security arrangements.

Read full analysis here: Déjà Vu: Preventing Another Collapse in South Sudan

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